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Nerdy Derby is a Maker Faire favorite! The Nerdy Derby group has offered hands-on racing for Faire-goers in cities including New York, Austin, Orlando, and Oakland, and holding a Nerdy Derby has become a go-to program for Maker Spaces all over.

This Nerdy Derby-style car project is based on Nerdy Derby’s Bristol Paper Car, and includes images from their instructions. Their car template is available for download here. Learn more about Nerdy Derby here.




Step #1: Cut the paperboard pattern

Nerdy Derby Paperboard Car
  • Print a car pattern on the sheet of paperboard, or you can even design it yourself. You can find a pattern at
  • Cut out your car body with a hobby knife or scissors.

Step #2: Fasten the axle holders

Nerdy Derby Paperboard Car
  • Decide where your wheels should go. Your axles will work best if they "aligned", or parallel to each other.
  • Make four holes in the car pattern where your wheels will go.
  • Fasten your axle holders on it. If you are using grommets, use a grommet kit to fasten. If not, use strong glue.

Step #3: Fold and glue the cardboard pattern

Nerdy Derby Paperboard Car
  • Fold and close the flat pattern into the car shape and glue together.
  • You may find paper clips or binder clips help hold things while they dry.

Step #4: Add axles and wheels

Nerdy Derby Paperboard Car
  • Once the glue is dry, thread the two axles through the holes.
  • Glue your wheels (washers or other) at the end of each axle.
  • TIP: If your washer wheel's inside hole is too large for your metal rod, find smaller washers which fit with it, and paste them on the big ones.

Step #5: On your marks, get set, roll!

Nerdy Derby Paperboard Car

Once everything is dry, you are ready to roll. Race your car down a slope, or make a set of awesome Nerdy Derby tracks. Learn how at

Jessica Henricks

Jessica designs art, making, and STEAM experiences for learners of all ages. She's developed and produced hands-on workshops, public programs, video media, project guides, and PD resources for organizations like Maker Media, the Exploratorium, and Franconia Sculpture Park. She holds a BFA in Sculpture from RISD and an EdM from Harvard.

She's shared hands-on activities with attendees at Maker Faires since 2007.

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